Recently concluded, the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow, Scotland, from 23 July to 3 August 2014, have been hailed as one of the most successful editions in the history of the event — from volunteers to organization to athlete performance. 36 teams from the Commonwealth of Nations participated in 17 sports with England, Australia, and Canada taking in the most medals. Even the Look of the Games — which we’ve never heard of them being a thing to keep an eye out for — turned out interesting, as designed by Glasgow-based Tangent.
After inheriting the logo four years ago we went on to shape every aspect of the Games brand identity. Early projects included the Pictograms, the official typeface, a set of sub-brand logos and the interior graphics for the Organising Committee headquarters. We proceeded to work on the full suite of publications, including the Official Ticketing Guide and Spectator Guide before art directing the TV graphics, and developing the creative strategy for the ‘Look of Games’ — the venue dressing, city dressing and sports equipment at Games-time.
The highly forgettable logo was designed by Marque Creative and like past and future Commonwealth logos it wasn’t particularly good. It did serve as a starting point, with the geometric, concentric circles, for Tangent to first develop the pictograms and later the complete Look.
A little odd at times — basketball, weightlifting, bicycling — the pictograms had some nice moments like in swimming, wrestling, and gymnastics with a good balance of thick and thin lines and the pointier ending of some of them. When blown up big in application — as it happens with most design elements — the pictograms look quite good and full of energy.
The Look starts to get interesting in the print applications, with crops of thick-stroked concentric circles and plenty of white space.
The best use, though, is in the supergraphics where the rings and pictograms take over facades, walls, and event backdrops.
What I enjoy the most about this identity is how Tangent was able to extract one visual idea from the logo and turn it into something far more exciting than one would have expected. Overall, it’s not nearly as ambitious as any Look of the Olympic Games but it’s definitely a strong demonstration for the Commonwealth Games to take design more seriously and hopefully try to make something good out of the hot mess of the 2018 logo.